More and more entrepreneurs use digital media to express themselves. How you decide to portray yourself online has an impact on your business, as it is highly influencing your level of authenticity, and influences the sense of connection you establish with your target audience. Previous research has shown that there is a gender gap in the field of entrepreneurship (Swail & Marlow, 2017; Ahl, 2006; Bruni et al., 2004). Furthermore and strikingly, female entrepreneurs are often seen as less than their male counterparts and therefore suffer from gender discrimination (Sarfaraz et al., 2014). Therefore, digital platforms play a key role for the emancipation of female entrepreneurs because they have a low barrier for usage, and therefore often are used to overcome several challenges they face when starting their own business (Wally & Koshy, 2014). Therefore, the current research focuses on how Dutch digital female entrepreneurs form their entrepreneurial identity with the usage of narrative identity work on Instagram. The current research took a qualitative approach and interviewed Dutch digital female entrepreneurs and gathered insights by using a semi-structured interview format. The interview explored different topics as entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial identity, Instagram usage, and the told narrative. The data retrieved from these interviews show that personal details are often included in the narrative, although there is a clear boundary whereas relevance is of utmost importance, and there is a clear focus on sharing positive elements. This shows that female entrepreneurs do include personal elements into their narrative which forms their entrepreneurial identity, however they do make it positively focused and leave out negatively focused elements on purpose. Aside from this, some elements are purposely left out depending on the context and situation the entrepreneur finds herself in, such as age or private life details. These elements that are included in the narrative or excluded from the narrative impact the construction of the entrepreneurial identity, and therefore how the entrepreneur is perceived by others.

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Sven - Ove Horst
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Kyra Tamminga. (2022, July 26). A qualitative research on narrative identity work of female digital entrepreneurs. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from